Friday, August 3, 2012

Shit-Eating Grin

After a rather raucous evening, my boyfriend commented that he would be going into work with a shit-eating grin on his face. And for the record, neither of us are into scat play.
Is it shit or is it chocolate? 
Either way, she seems to be enjoying herself. 

What is the origin of the phrase "shit-eating grin"?

People posting on the interwebs seem to take the phrase too literally. Examples include babies, dogs, rodents & opossums that actually eat their shit. One even recommended looking at yourself in a mirror while eating a hamburger to see what a shit-eating grin would look like. Someone has too much time on their hands!

Mmmm...mystery meat.

But I digress. Let's get down to business.

Definition of the phrase

shit-eating grin: (a) a broad grin expressing uncontrollable delight or (self-)satisfaction, esp. at having got away with something outrageous or improper. 1957–. (b) an ingratiating, embarrassed, or uncomfortable expression, esp. as exhibited by someone undergoing a humiliating experience; a forced smile. 1990–.

According to this definition, the first recorded usage of the phrase "shit-eating grin" was in 1957.

 Loved by housewives everywhere.

However, there are indications of earlier origins.

The earliest origins

In Book XXI of his History of Rome, Livy describes a Carthaginian sect of coprophages (people who ate feces), the risus faecivorus, or shit-eating grin, being commonly displayed by its adherents.

A medical journal article published in 1944 also made the following observation: "Among demented patients in advanced stages of their illness, is not rare to see some of them grasp their own feces, chew them and eat them often with great pleasure and satisfaction (coprophagia)."

Ew! Ew! Ew!

 Time to pray to the porcelain god.

Related links

Etymology/definition of "shit-eating grin"
Origin of "s__t-eating grin"
What is the origin of the phrase "shit-eating grin"?

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